“These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Parenting is hard.
From the moment that you hear that little “thump thump” inside your womb until the day you close your eyes to this earthly home there will never be a day that you aren’t aware that you are a parent. Oh don’t get me wrong. There is so much joy in being a parent that it totally outweighs the hard part. But on those other days, when joy is a distant thought, it is all you do to keep up with all that parenting requires of you.
For many years, when I was far from God and the world ruled my life, I gave little thought to the repercussions of how I raised my children. My goal was to give them the life I had always dreamed of. They never wanted for anything. I worked thousands of hours at my job to be able to shower upon them all the things I thought would make their lives wonderful.
I worried more about them having the latest styles than I did about teaching them to give God the best part of their lives.
Then I met God. Right in the middle of my mess, my sin, my overwhelming failures. Flat on my face, covered in the ugly snotty cries of my heart, I cried out to Him to help my lost children. To show me what I was doing wrong. To save me from the path of destruction I was leading my family down.
And He did.
He met me. He changed me. He showed me where I was weak. He made me strong. He, being the ultimate parenting expert, gently but firmly moved me out of the world’s style of parenting.
One of my new favorite resources is “The 30 Day Praise Challenge For Parents” by Becky Harling. “Spend twenty minutes a day for thirty consecutive days intentionally praising God for His work in your child’s life.”¹ Wait. What? Praise Him for how crazy they make me? Praise Him for the issues they face instead of asking Him to fix them? Wow.
It never occurred to me to spend time praising God for what He is doing in the lives of my children. Most of my parenting prayer time involved begging Him to fix things in their lives.
Becky’s book has changed all that. Each of the 30 days begins with an inspirational thought, three praise songs to move you closer to His presence before you pray, a prayer suggestion with a place for your child’s name, and then some journaling time. I love, love, love the praise song suggestions. Praise music changes my heart to a place of peace as I prepare to offer up my thankfulness to Him.
Now each morning begins with time spent in praise instead of stressing out over problems in their lives. I praise Him for each child, each grandchild, each of their spouses. I praise Him for the spouses yet to be, wherever they are. I insert their name into Bible verses as I pray over them. (Psalm 91, Ephesians 4:1, Luke 15:20, Romans 14:13 are a few examples) I am learning to hand over the issues to the expert and spend my time in praise of what He is doing for them and for me as a mom.
Do I have any children at home? Nope. Does that relieve me of my parenting requirements? Nope. I will always be a parent, even to the prodigal (we have a couple). I will always be a parent, even to the one who doesn’t believe in Him (we have an atheist child). I will always be a parent, even to the ones who we didn’t give birth to (we have those). I will always be a parent, even to those who chose a different religion (we have a few of those). I have the feeling this 30 day challenge will become a permanent part of my prayer life.
My desire as a parent is to have Psalm 71:8 as my new normal. “My mouth is full of praise and honor to You all day long.”
Will you join me in this 30 day challenge? I look forward to hearing about your parenting praise journey.
Blessings and thank you for joining me on this journey we call life,
©2015MichelleWelch, team member of Breath Of Life Women’s Ministries and Single Matters Magazine
photography by Michelle Welch, all rights reserved
scriptures from Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved